Upgrade and road construction

road_construction01I have to go through road construction in order get to my church office (yes, we have two seasons here: winter and road construction!)

The road project is almost done now, but I think God was trying to show me something through it all. Rather than it being a daily source of frustration and inconvenience, it was all about upgrade!

What’s going on in my little world is that the Wisconsin DOT has been busy tearing up our former two-lane highway in the country (we’re two miles south of town) and making it a four-lane divided highway.

No biggie…unless you happen to be located right in the middle of it.

road_construction06Sometimes the commute has been like an off-road obstacle course, complete with twisting lane changes, weaving through heavy equipment traffic, and avoiding the manmade drop-offs into the abyss. Oh, and then there’s the waiting on the roadside for a bulldozer to come along and flatten some dirt so we can access our parking lot.

So what’s with my whiny litany of first-world inconveniences? I think this is how God often upgrades our relationship with Him, expanding our “traffic” capacity, if you will, in the process of growing us up into Christ (Eph.4:13-15).

Even so…there’s nothing comfortable or safe about it.

God is totally and relentlessly committed to making you and me look, act, and believe like Jesus. But, as Bill Johnson puts it, the Kingdom of God works through a renewed mind. In my post, “Being led by the Spirit and road construction, I used a highway analogy to show the problem we have when first come to Christ…

The problem is, when you come to Christ the current “highways” in your mind don’t go there!  Instead, super highways are going to the old ghost towns of your past and default ways of responding to circumstances.

road_construction03But even after building this kingdom pathway there comes a time when what was once a perfectly good “road” is now inadequate to handle the season ahead. So, what does God do? Yup, He gets out the big jackhammer!

During this season, your former solid rock life in Christ seems more like a rubbly heap. What you once had so much confidence in you’re now questioning. What used to quench your thirsty soul now seems tepid and stale. With this spiritual upheaval comes many temptations and pitfalls. We must be careful not to lose heart in the process. It would be very easy to misinterpret what’s going on.

The writer of Hebrews didn’t use road construction, but pointed to the loving guidance of good parents to help us rightly discern what’s actually going on (emphasis mine):

This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves….While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.(Heb. 12:8-11 MSG)

There’s no sense in looking back now and wishing it would all just go away. You know in your heart that the old way is forever closed off to you.


But this is actually good news! Something new is at work in you; for it is God and His upgrade is right on schedule!

What’s also instructive for us about the process of upgrading a highway is that you don’t stop driving on the road while the construction is going on. While the road is now slower and more confining than before, you also have opportunity to see something wonderful.

road_construction04Even during the transition, you’re receiving new vision, getting glimpses of what’s ahead. Both the old and the new are now revealed and you’re beginning to see that the new is better! While this process is not over, there’s a fresh wind at your back and a sense of greater things ahead!

Beloved, if this is you, good things are happening, not bad things. Just keep going. As the writer of Hebrews says at the beginning of chapter 12, keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, and soon you’ll be cruising on something higher, wider, deeper, straighter, faster, stronger, and better than anything you’ve ever travelled on before.

So, I join Paul in his prayer for us all…

14-19 My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. (Eph.3:14-19 MSG)

This is the frustrating, messy, and sometimes downright troubling road we travel on as we are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor.3:18). But when He’s done with the upgrade, we won’t hardly remember what the old road looked like.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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14 Responses to Upgrade and road construction

  1. Der Krieger des Lichts says:

    Thank you… you are really an ambassador of the Kingdom 😉

  2. MJ Kaufman says:

    Even driving on the roads under construction to get to the office, while inconvenient, is still an adventure–like our journey “from glory to glory”! I am glad to be traveling the road with amazing, Godly men and women.

  3. Lance says:

    That’s awesome Mel. When we ask the proverbial question “Why God?” He often responds “Why not?” In this seemingly chaotic and random temporal existence we are here to experience what we experience to discover ourselves. Without contrast, how would we ever discover ourselves. We can’t know love without fear. We can’t know joy without sadness. There are no rainbows if it never rains. Is that overly simplistic or uncaring? Quite the opposite. It is profoundly complex, diverse, beautiful and loving. Discovering our true nature as Love is our journey. The bumps and roadblocks and potholes and the occasional cavernous pit that could swallow a car are all part of the perfect design. Thanks again Mel.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, Lance. These contrasts called “life happens” are the tapestry weavings God uses to make His masterpiece…us! And just like a pearl, we’re a living thing whose precious value is made manifest under pressure. That’s why we are called the “pearl of great price” that the Merchant (God) paid everything to possess! That latent treasure is IN us. God intends to use “life” to bring it out for the world to see!

  4. Heard a quote many years ago… “Going down, losing ground.” Doesn’t sound very inspiring, unless you’re tearing down a lesser building in order to build a greater building. Not only do you tear down the building, but you have to tear out the foundation and go wider, deeper, etc, in order to hold the weight of the new building. Seems like we’re forever in some part of the cycle of growth…. Thank You, God!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Another great analogy. I remember when I lived in Chicago seeing them tear down a perfectly good building downtown and then digging down for like 20 stories underground. It took months, then suddenly a huge skyscraper pops out of the ground, bigger and taller than ever! Yup, constant remodel and upgrade…going deeper so we can go higher! 🙂

  5. dawnlizjones says:

    “During this season, your former solid rock life in Christ seems more like a rubbly heap.” This is where fear kicks in with full force. Thank you for such an encouragement!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, fear does want to kick in. This is why we must learn how live in the Father’s embrace, walking in (abiding in) His infinite love for us (John 15:9), learning to define ourselves by His unconditional and deep affections for us, so that circumstance won’t ever move us. It’s His love that keeps us in all seasons!
      Thanks for your comments. Blessings to you.

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